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HEADLINE: Reeling Kimble seeks answer


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  • HEADLINE: Reeling Kimble seeks answer

    [HEADLINE: Reeling Kimble seeks answer]

    Author: Tim Stewart (12.168.192.---)

    Date: 12-09-02 04:31

    Copyright 2002 The Press Enterprise Co.


    December 6, 2002, Friday


    LENGTH: 520 words

    HEADLINE: Reeling Kimble seeks answer



    The mother of basketball player Will Kimble said Pepperdine

    officials were aware of evidence her son had a pre-existing

    heart condition before the junior center collapsed and lost

    consciousness during practice Nov. 26.

    Following the incident, Kimble was diagnosed with hypertrophic

    cardiomyopathy, a life-threatening condition that involves an

    abnormal growth of the heart muscle.

    His mother, Dr. Irene Donley-Kimble, said her son had never

    suffered chest pains, shortness of breath, or any other signs of

    heart problems. The only hint of a potentially serious ailment

    came more than two years ago, when a heart murmur was detected

    in a routine physical exam administered to Kimble upon his

    enrollment at Pepperdine. Additional tests, including a stress

    echocardiogram, came back normal and Kimble was cleared to play.

    Last week, a stress echocardiogram revealed the condition, which

    often has no advance warning signs and has resulted in the

    sudden fatality of young athletes.

    "We're still reeling from the shock," said Donley-Kimble. "The

    diagnosis was totally unexpected. We'll get another opinion and

    go from there. We're not going to count out basketball

    altogether at this time."

    Donley-Kimble, said her son would undergo tests Wednesday at

    Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

    Kimble, a graduate of San Bernardino Pacific High School, had

    told Pepperdine officials and teammates that he did not intend

    to play basketball again. But Donley-Kimble said the family was

    holding out hope the diagnosis might change, and that her son

    might be able to return to the court.

    "The same test came back clean two years ago," she said. "There

    was no reason then to think it was a serious problem. . . . The

    heart is like any other muscle -- it gets bigger when you work

    it. William was working excessively hard. It's difficult to say

    how much extra heart tissue had built up. That's why it's

    important to get another opinion."

    If the second opinion confirms the original diagnosis,

    Donley-Kimble said that her son would "understand what that

    means" and would give up basketball.

    Pepperdine athletic director Dr. John Watson said the university

    would object if Kimble lobbied to return to the team and play

    with the condition.

    "It would be my responsibility not to allow that to happen,"

    Watson said. "If there is evidence that the diagnosis is incorrect,

    we will take a thorough look at it. But if it's correct, he will

    not play basketball for this university. We will not put him in

    harm's way."

    Watson said the school intends to honor its four-year

    scholarship commitment to Kimble, a bright student who is making

    progress toward a degree in advertising.

    "Obviously, his career goals have changed drastically," Watson

    said. "We talked to him about our support and how we want to keep

    him in school and see him through to his degree."

    Kimble's basketball career was beginning to emerge. He won the

    starting center position after two years in a reserve role, and

    was expected to make an impact with his rebounding and

    shot-blocking abilities.

    LOAD-DATE: December 6, 2002


    [Re: HEADLINE: Reeling Kimble seeks answer]

    Author: Sarah B. Board Moderator (12.144.99.---)

    Date: 12-09-02 06:45

    It sounds like his parents are pushing for playing and he is not. Just my read on this one. Hopefully his mom will back off ----hey, Lisa, can you send her the packet?



    [Re: HEADLINE: Reeling Kimble seeks answer]

    Author: Reenie Smith (---.snbrca.adelphia.net)

    Date: 12-09-02 07:42


    I live near these guys and looked the phone # up in the book. His mom is an MD. I was thinking about calling them to suggest they see someone Lisa recommended to me for my husband, but now I'm not sure if I should or not. What do you think?



    [Re: HEADLINE: Reeling Kimble seeks answer]

    Author: Sarah B. Board Moderator (12.144.99.---)

    Date: 12-09-02 08:06

    Dear Reenie,

    I would call Lisa and see what she suggests. Tough call on this one, but I think reaching out is a good idea.



    [Re: HEADLINE: Reeling Kimble seeks answer]

    Author: Allen Bates (---.motorola.com)

    Date: 12-09-02 11:48

    I just wrote an email to Paul Westphal, Pepperdine coach, and gave him the hcma website to pass on to Will and the family


    [Re: HEADLINE: Reeling Kimble seeks answer]

    Author: Sarah B. Board Moderator (12.144.99.---)

    Date: 12-09-02 12:11

    Thanks, Allen, that was a great idea.



    [HEADLINE: To Play, or Not]

    Author: Tim Stewart (12.168.192.---)

    Date: 12-10-02 04:16

    Copyright 2002 The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles Times

    All Rights Reserved

    Los Angeles Times

    December 10, 2002 Tuesday Home Edition

    SECTION: Sports; Part 4; Page 1; Sports Desk

    LENGTH: 1326 words

    HEADLINE: To Play, or Not;

    Pepperdine calls Kimble's condition career-ending, butathlete isn't so sure

    BYLINE: Rob Fernas, Times Staff Writer


    Will Kimble says he's praying for a miracle, and that's what it might take

    for the Pepperdine junior to play college basketball again.

    Kimble was the starting center for the Waves until he passed out at practice

    Nov. 26 and was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a heart condition

    that can cause sudden death. Kimble and his family are hoping the diagnosis was

    incorrect and have scheduled an evaluation by another cardiologist this week.

    Pepperdine coaches hope Kimble will be cleared to rejoin the team, which has

    struggled without the low-post presence of the 6-foot-10, 230-pounder.

    But the university is adhering to a more conservative stance, releasing a

    statement that Kimble has a "career-ending" condition. Though Kimble reportedly

    approved the release, he indicated he isn't ready to call it a career at age 20.

    "I'm real optimistic," he said of his chances of playing again. "It's just a

    gut feeling."

    John Watson, Pepperdine athletic director, said the medical evidence would

    have to be conclusive for the school to allow Kimble back on the court.

    "If it turns out that this initial diagnosis was incorrect -- invalidated --

    then obviously we'll review everything," Watson said. "But based on what we've

    been told with the preliminary diagnosis, this is the prudent action for Will.

    "We do not want to put him in harm's way, nor do we want a young person's

    enthusiasm to place him in danger."

    Watson's caution is understandable. He was at Loyola Marymount's Gersten

    Pavilion the night of March 4, 1990, when Loyola's Hank Gathers collapsed during

    a basketball game and later died of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart.

    Boston Celtic star Reggie Lewis died of the same condition.

    Loyola's insurance carriers eventually paid a settlement of $1.4 million to

    Gathers' family.

    Another $1 million was paid on behalf of Vernon Hattori, the cardiologist who

    had treated Gathers for his heart condition and cleared him to play.

    Watson acknowledged that Kimble's situation reminds him of Gathers', but said

    that has not influenced the way Pepperdine is handling the matter.

    "It's in my mind, but it's not the overriding concern," Watson said. "Nor is

    the liability issue an overriding concern. It's what's right for Will Kimble."

    And if Kimble receives a second medical opinion that contradicts the initial

    diagnosis, clearing him to play?

    "I'm not sure how we would resolve it, other than having long discussions

    with the family and with Will," Watson said.

    "We're not talking about a kid who might feel pain with an arthritic knee the

    rest of his life. We're talking about life and death as a potential."

    Kimble -- no relation to Bo Kimble, Gathers' high-profile teammate at Loyola

    -- had never displayed any signs of having a heart problem before last month,

    said his mother, Irene Donley-Kimble, an obstetrician-gynecologist.

    She said Will was "active in almost every sport" while growing up. He

    competed on a youth swim team and was a Boy Scout. He played basketball and

    football at San Bernardino Pacific High.

    "William never complained of any kind of problem," Donley-Kimble said. "He's

    a quiet kid, but when he's not feeling well, he lets you know."

    Kimble passed a physical before he was cleared to play for Pepperdine, but

    John Shearer, the school's head trainer, said a heart condition such as the one

    diagnosed in Kimble would not be detected by general health screening unless a

    more telling sign, such as a heart murmur, were present.

    "You would need an echocardiogram," said Shearer, referring to the procedure

    of examining the heart through ultrasound.

    A key reserve for Pepperdine last season, Kimble became a starter and played

    without incident in the Waves' season-opening loss at Bradley on Nov. 22.

    He was participating in a rigorous full-court press drill at practice the

    morning of Nov. 26 when he started to feel lightheaded. He went to sit down on

    the base of a basket at Firestone Fieldhouse on the Pepperdine campus in Malibu.

    "Next thing you know, I was out," Kimble said.

    Teammates noticed him lying face down on the court. He quickly regained

    consciousness. A team manager summoned Shearer.

    "I was only out five or 10 seconds," Kimble said. "Then, after that, I just

    felt fine."

    Shearer asked Kimble a series of general health questions. Had he skipped

    breakfast that morning? Had he suffered a recent head injury? Was he taking any

    medication? When Kimble's answers failed to provide any clues, Shearer decided

    to hold Kimble out of the rest of practice.

    Shearer called Dr. Gary Green, the team physician, who arranged to have

    Kimble evaluated by a cardiologist.

    Kimble drove himself to UCLA Medical Center, where he underwent a battery of

    tests, including an echocardiogram that detected hypertrophic obstructive

    cardiomyopathy, a condition characterized by thickened tissue of the heart

    muscle that can interfere with the movement of blood as it is pumped from the

    left ventricle.

    During strenuous exercise, "not enough blood can get to other areas of the

    body, including the brain, which is probably why he passed out," Donley-Kimble


    Kimble said the cardiologist (Dr. Antoine Hage) who treated him told him he

    "should never exercise again." Donley-Kimble said Hage indicated that Kimble

    could perform normal physical activities but would have to undergo further

    testing and might need to take medication. Hage could not be reached for


    According to the American Heart Assn., 36% of young athletes who suffer

    sudden cardiac death have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which can cause fatal


    Athletes have gone to great lengths to prolong their careers despite health

    concerns. Gathers had an irregular heartbeat that doctors were trying to control

    with medication. He needed further testing to find the cause of the arrhythmia,

    but he did not want to do it until after the basketball season.

    Devard Darling tried unsuccessfully to play football for several universities

    after he was found to have the same sickle-cell trait that was found in his

    twin, Devaughn, who died after collapsing during a workout in February 2001,

    when they were freshmen at Florida State. Devard finally transferred to

    Washington State, where he is a sophomore wide receiver, after exhaustive

    medical tests cleared him for competition.

    Donley-Kimble said that although the family is seeking a second medical

    opinion, they will not press for her son to play basketball if results confirm

    the initial tests. Kimble has scheduled an evaluation and consultation Wednesday

    with Dr. Robert Siegel, a cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

    "We're not going to press William or have him play again if there's anything

    that shows [his condition] could possibly cause sudden death," Donley-Kimble


    The day after Kimble's heart condition was diagnosed, Pepperdine Coach Paul

    Westphal broke the news to the team. Westphal has helped ease Kimble's

    transition from player to spectator by allowing him to travel with the team and

    sit on the bench.

    After Westphal spoke, Kimble addressed his teammates.

    What he told them is, "Take nothing for granted and appreciate everything

    that they've got," Kimble said. "Because you could lose everything in one


    "Everything that you work for could be gone like that."


    Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

    Pepperdine's Will Kimble averaged 5.4 points and 3.7 rebounds a game as a

    reserve on last season's 22-9 team. He started the Waves' first game this season

    before being diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

    * Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy results in the abnormal growth of the heart

    muscle cells. The wall between the heart chambers, known as the septum, may

    become so thickened that it blocks the flow of blood through the left ventricle.

    In most instances, there are no warning signs of the condition, which is most

    often diagnosed in young athletes.

    GRAPHIC: PHOTO: NO SIGN OF PROBLEM: Will Kimble started for Pepperdine this year

    until he passed out in practice Nov. 26. PHOTOGRAPHER: Alexander Gallardo Los

    Angeles Times PHOTO: HOPING: Will Kimble (52), diagnosed with hypertrophic

    cardiomyopathy, is awaiting a second medical opinion. PHOTOGRAPHER: Alexander

    Gallardo Los Angeles Times

    LOAD-DATE: December 10, 2002


    [Re: HEADLINE: To Play, or Not]

    Author: Allen Bates (---.ph.ph.cox.net)

    Date: 12-12-02 20:19

    A note to let you all know that Coach Westphal wrote this afternoon to say that he would pass the website information on to Will's family.

    NOTE: This is a post from the previous forum message board.

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